I’m definitely feeling a bit behind these days! Our trip to Utah and California took a good week to recover from and we are JUST wrapping up our Christmas decor. Though I’m certain almost everyone in the world has their tree up by now, I still thought it would be fun to share a step by step tutorial on trimming a tree…hopefully someone, somewhere, will be inspired or learn a new trick, even if it is for next year’s tree!
When I lived in Utah, I decorated my mom’s tree for her each year. It was always a fun challenge to use completely different decor and a different style than my own. I realized that whether you’re decorating the family tree with your children (and a variety of mixed and matched ornaments) or going full on fancy-pants, the order to trimming a Christmas tree is always the same. I’m sharing 8 simple steps to make your tree decorating process as smooth and flawless as possible!
STEP 1: SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT
Did anyone else’s Dad say that? Okay, maybe it was just mine. Either way, the first step is always to get your tree into SHAPE. Actually, I lied. The first step is always to turn on some Christmas music…then shape your tree!For faux trees, you want to straighten and “fluff” out the branches. For the real deal, you can trim any broken or bent (or just plain ugly) branches. Then, simply find the best side to face forward. If you’re unsure what the best side is, look for the most symmetrical side.
STEP 2: LIGHT IT UPLighting a Christmas tree can be a tedious process! My best BEST tip: WEAR GLOVES! A pair of tight fitting work gloves will make a world of difference and save your hands from a whole lot of unpleasantness. Once gloved, start at the top and work your way down. Make sure you plug your lights in periodically to check for evenness. Wrap the lights around your tree, winding them in (toward the trunk) and out as you go. You may be tempted to skimp on the backside of your tree, but don’t do it! Even lighting throughout the entire tree makes a world of difference and adds so much depth when lit.
3. ADD PICKS AND FILLERS AND SUCHNow for the fun part! I love to add a variety of picks, branches, pine cones, etc, to fill in any gaps and break up that triangular shape a bit. If you have any sparse areas, simply add some faux branches, greenery, poinsettias, etc. I like to add picks throughout the tree, but especially right on the tips, extending the branches as much as possible.4. GET ORNAMENTALThis is the part where my kiddos join in the fun. Of course, they all hang their own ornaments on our family tree. I also like to include them with our fancier tree by letting them each hang a few ornaments here and there.
My number one advice for hanging ornaments is to remove all those darn silly strings they come with and replace them with wire ornament hooks!The wire gives you much more control when placing your ornaments and allows you to securely adjust how high (or low) you want them to hang on each branch.When hanging ornaments, I always start with the largest ones first. I like to keep the big and heavier ones toward the bottom of the tree and the smaller ones up top. It is fun to create depth and dimension by placing larger ornaments deep in the tree and layer daintier ones toward the branch tips.
5. ACCESSORIZE WITH GARLANDS, RIBBONS AND ALL THOSE TRIMMINGSMy personal preference is to add the extra trimmings (ribbon, garland, bows, beads, etc) after everything else is in place. I use it to fill any sparse areas and like it to drape in and around the other decor.7. TOP THINGS OFF
A tree topper balances your tree and adds a finishing touch. You definitely don’t need to go with the tradition star or angel. Choose a tree topper that compliments your other decor. I’ve used bows and poinsettias in the past and this year a snowflake (and some helpers) got the job done nicely.I also always add a few of the same picks used throughout the tree around my topper.
8. PUT ON A SKIRT
Its always a good idea to wait until your completely done decorating (and have swept or vacuumed up all the pine needles and glitter) before adding your tree skirt. A fun tree skirt is the final step to balance things out and provide a home for future presents. You don’t have to buy a traditional tree skirt, burlap, a fur throw, or gathered fabric works just fine. This year I gathered a round rug at the base of our tree and called it good.And now you’re done! I hope these steps helped make your trim trimming process as enjoyable and stress free as possible!